RETALIATION

10 mistakes that crush your ability to win a retaliation lawsuit

12/22/2014

When employees complain internally about discrimination or lodge a complaint with an outside agency like the EEOC, they’ve en­gaged in what’s called “protected activity.” They may not be correct about the discrimination, but if the employer retaliated against an em­­ployee for complaining in the first place, they could win a large jury award anyway.

Employee complained in the past? Keep that info from new supervisor

12/05/2014
Here’s an easy way to stop retaliation lawsuits: If an employee has complained in the past about harassment, discrimination or other legal wrongs, make sure that information stays confidential.

Former manager smells blood, files whistle-blower lawsuit

12/05/2014
The former billing manager for Abing­­ton Memorial Hospital in Mont­­gomery County, Pennsylvania, has filed a ­­whistle-blower suit against her former employer. She claims she was fired for alleging that the hospital lab mislabeled blood samples to increase the fees it could charge.

Employee testifies in lawsuit: That's protected activity

11/14/2014
Goodwill Industries will pay $100,000 to settle a long-standing lawsuit for retaliation filed by the EEOC.

Same job, different office: Is that considered retaliation?

11/13/2014
Some employees believe that anything negative that happens after filing a complaint must be retaliation. Not true.

Put an immediate stop to co-worker harassment over FMLA use

11/05/2014
Some supervisors and co-workers who don’t have children may resent having to pick up the perceived slack while the new mom or dad is home with their bundle of joy. The same may be true if other employees view someone’s FMLA use as frivolous or unnecessary. When co-workers or supervisors ridicule other employees for using FMLA leave, that may be retaliation.

Know the law: Protected activity is essential before employee can claim retaliation

11/03/2014
Some employees complain all the time and don’t get along with their bosses and co-workers. But if their complaints aren’t specific and don’t raise at least potential discrimination based on race, age, sex or some other protected characteristic, their complaints aren’t so-called “protected activity.” Therefore, they can’t be the basis for later retaliation claims.

Government employers: Slipshod investigation can sink defense in cases involving free speech

11/03/2014
Here’s a warning for public em­­ployers that want to discharge an employee for allegedly speaking out inappropriately: Make sure you conduct a thorough investigation that at least allows the employee a chance to defend his actions before you terminate him.

Whistle-blower or revealer of trade secrets?

10/31/2014
A former attorney for the Vanguard Group in Malvern is suing the investment firm, claiming he was fired for refusing to go along with an illegal tax scheme.

Firing whistle-blower? Prepare for court

10/31/2014

Generally, Pennsylvania employees who aren’t union members or don’t have a written employment agreement are at-will employees who can be fired for any reason or no reason at all. There’s one major exception: Employers can’t fire at-will employees because of their protected characteristics. But there is a second exception gaining prominence in court cases.

Avoid appearance of retaliation against whistle-blowers

10/30/2014
To constitute whistle-blowing, employees must do more than merely state that they are going to complain about the employer’s actions. They must actually do so. Whistle-blowers don’t have to demonstrate an actual violation of the law as long as they have a reasonable, good-faith belief that a violation of the law has occurred or might.

Appeals court: Employee doesn't have to be first whistle-blower to be protected

10/27/2014

Public employees are protected from retaliation for reporting wrongdoing at work, either within their chain of command or to appropriate authorities. But what if several employees report the same alleged wrongdoing?

In Minnesota, encourage internal complaint process to protect against whistle-blower lawsuits

10/14/2014

Minnesota employees who believe they were punished for refusing to engage in illegal activities can sue under two distinct but related laws. First, they may have a claim under Minnesota’s Whistleblower Act. Second, they can sue under the state common law for wrongful discharge. Each law has a different standard.

Note time, circumstances of firing decision

10/14/2014

Employees may begin suspecting that their job is in danger before management has a chance to implement a discharge decision. That’s when you can expect them to complain about harassment or discrimination. Or, in Minnesota, they may request a copy of their personnel file to see what’s in it and prepare for a potential lawsuit. Beat that strategy by carefully documenting the discharge process.

Minnesota High Court's double-trouble decision

10/14/2014
Here’s some disturbing news, courtesy of the Minnesota Supreme Court: When a supervisor threatens an employee with punishment or discharge for filing a workers’ compensation claim, that threat alone is grounds for a lawsuit.
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